Small business marketers still unsure about using the internet

Quite a few small business owners and managers have resolved to take advantage of the many tools the internet offers to companies. While online activity may seem like a more direct way to engage in marketing and advertising to customers, it still requires some work. A recent survey has confirmed that one needs to be willing to invest some time, energy and resources into an online strategy.

The Hennerberg Group, an internet marketing consulting organization, has released the findings of a survey of small businesses. It indicates that while 80 percent have a website, only about half of them feel that they have found success by using it. An additional 30 percent report that they believe their online efforts to have failed.

Of course, not every company can succeed in a competitive business environment, but further survey results indicate why that might be the case. Of all small businesses that maintained a company website, 25 percent relied on a friend or non-employed acquaintance to help set it up, while 19 percent took a do-it-yourself approach and used an existing service's template to create their web page.

It is possible for small business owners to take on the role of marketer, designer, web specialist and internet guru all at once. Some companies can find success using this model, depending on how they go about attracting customers. Some strategies rely on different aspects of the internet. For example, a promotional products campaign, using personalized mugs or promotional pens, will clearly advertise the web address and company name that directs consumers to a website. In this instance, search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are not as crucial.

However, companies that are determined to take advantage of Facebook, Google search rankings or email marketing have a bit more work ahead of them. As a result, if they are relying on friends or existing templates and not finding success, they may have to admit to themselves that they're in over their heads.

At this point, it would be prudent to either rethink an online marketing strategy or to find a professional who can help with internet-based efforts. Some businesses may consider contracting a consulting group, though it may be as simple as hiring a full-time employee who is well-versed in SEO techniques or web-design. These positions need not be costly, and if a manager or owner is determined to take advantage of online marketing options, it may be the only way to succeed going forward.  

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